Staying up-to-date with technological needs and requirements can be a significant challenge for SMBs. Among everyday operating usage, security breaches, and unexpected IT outages, SMB owners can have their technology plates full — especially if infrastructure capabilities are limited. However, IT costs should not affect how small and medium-sized companies do business. According to IT ProPortal, global spending on IT products and services is on the decline, but SMBs must always ensure that their IT budgets are adequate.
With technology being rather unpredictable, it is almost impossible to budget for IT accurately. This can leave a business in a lurch - either overspending on IT or forgoing critical technology (equipment, personnel, or updates). Both of these options are best avoided. Let’s look at some of the reasons why IT budgeting can be so unpredictable.
1) Unexpected replacements and fixes. Some months you may have to replace a computer, while others may see a new server needed or a security issue that needs to be dealt with immediately. These out-of-budget replacements and fixes are often expensive.
2) Need for temporary resources. SMBs often have technology needs that may be project-specific or temporary. Budgeting for these one-time IT needs is always tricky.
3) Expired warranties. Since SMBs are often short-staffed, tracking warranty details and software licences may be overlooked. Failure to extend warranties can result in unnecessary repair and replacement costs.
4) Hiring and training new staff. Your existing IT engineer would know your IT systems and daily IT operations inside out. However, in the event your key IT staff leaves, you will be faced with the task of hiring and training new IT staff to get up to speed quickly. Budgeting for this can be very difficult.
An MSP can help SMBs budget for their annual technology needs more easily and accurately. Using an MSP is the perfect way to know - from the start - what your technology expenditures are going to look like and what costs might occur should there be a need for a greater scope of services than what you initially signed on for. Either way, MSPs will provide you with a much better idea of your technology budget and you'll have greater peace of mind throughout the year.
Here’s how MSPs can make budgeting for IT easier.
Fixed Costs. With a single IT person or a small internal IT staff, it's unlikely that your business will know what will be needed during the year or how much it will cost when preparing the budget — an MSP will. Your MSP can foresee what your business will need and give you a fixed cost for providing a tailored solution. This can give you a clear line item for the budget and help avoid guessing, which can turn out to be dangerously inaccurate.
Resource availability. Instead of hoping that in-house resources can handle unforeseen technology requirements, opting for an MSP is a definite way to know that your requirements will be met. If an unexpected need arises, your business may experience a lack of equipment, training, or resources to meet the need. This can generate even more hidden costs. However, you'll know exactly what services your MSP can provide and what resources they have available.
Current and future planning. In addition to the business technology services provided, many MSPs can also serve as consultants for the IT side of your business. This can be an invaluable resource in budgeting and general planning for your business. Having a team of technology expert available to you 24/7 is a huge asset. Thus, you will not only be receiving a service, but also insight on why the technology solutions provided are the best fit for your business. This can lead to a better overall understanding of how technology affects your business and what aspects you should be focusing on. An MSP can thus not only simplify budgeting for your annual technology needs but also serve as a trusted partner in your long-term business planning.